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Reading and ruminating

It's a grey day - again - at the farmette. Feels like the sun has just said 'screw it' and disappeared in disgust. It's so dark and dingy - Sandy and I were saying the other day that, if we have to suffer through lockdown, the least they can do is send some bright sunny days. Oh, well.

It's been a while since I did some reading recommendations, and I got a boatload of books at Christmas. So here we go:

Most recently, I finished 'Indians on Vacation' by Thomas King. It's a quirky little travelogue about an Indigenous man, Bird, and his wife Mimi, and their overseas adventures. They're trying to track down a long-lost uncle name Leroy who sent post cards from all over Europe a century before. They're also looking for a medicine bag he might have had. For me, the best part was that it's mostly based in Prague, where Rob and I visited 16 years ago (!)

Even better is that the characters (and King himself) live in Guelph, where we lived from 1996 to 2012. So lots of familiar scenes and moments.

They're an older couple, and Bird is a bit of a hypochondriac-curmudgeon who's not that fond of travelling, actually. The coolest part is that he has named his demons - and Eugene (self-loathing), Kitty (pessimism), Didi (depression) and Desi (despair) along with Chip (on the shoulder) show up regularly to make his life miserable and bring him up short.

There are lots of light moments, too, and the writing is sharp. Highly recommend.

I can't stay away from my murder mysteries, and Ian Rankin's 'A Song for the Dark Times' is a corker. Main character John Rebus has retired from the police force when his daughter's partner goes missing.

Samantha, her partner and her daughter live in the far northern reaches of Scotland. She has a sketchy relationship with her dad, who's always been too preoccupied with cases to pay much attention to her.

Rebus smells murder, and is worried Samantha is the prime suspect, so embarks on his own investigation, which often puts him in the way of the locals.

It's vintage Rankin, with twists and turns both back home in Edinburgh with his former crew - including Siobhan Clarke - in the Criminal Investigation Department and Samantha's place near Tongue. Another amazing read - and highly recommended.

Finally, I can't wait to dig into Barack Obama's presidential memoir. It's actually only the first volume covering the early years - but it weighs in at a hefty 700 pages. Rob gave it to me for Christmas and figured since I read Michele's biography, it might be a fun compare-and-contrast to read his. I'm sure it'll be a fantastic journey.

The man has so much character, dignity, intelligence and grace. Unlike certain orange perils whose acolytes are still threatening to upend democracy in the U.S.

As I write, we're going into Joe Biden's inauguration week, and D.C. looks like a war zone with high fences topped with razor wire surrounding government buildings and troops with gigantic weapons everywhere. Welcome to 2021.

Anyhow. Shouldn't fret about what you can't control. Just glad I'm here at the farmette, delving into other places and other lives while listening to the dulcet tones of sleeping cats (this is Calvin). Until next week.


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